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Full text of "My country and my people"

THE    ARTISTIC    LIFE                     285
formal style of calligraphy, and Han Yu In prose. Wang Wei was born In 699, Wu Taotzu about 700, Li Po in 701, Yen Chench'ing in 708, Tu Fu In 712, Han Yu in 768, Po Chiiyi in 772, and Liu Chungyuan in 773—all first-class names In Chinese history. And In this century, too., a beauty of beauties, Yang Kweifei, was born to keep the Emperor company and grace the court with the poet Li Po. Nor was this period distinguished by peace, either.
However that may be, the "southern school" came into being, and It is the southern school that we are primarily interested In, as being most peculiarly Chinese. This type of painting became known as the "scholars5 painting/* and later on In the eleventh century, under the influence of Sung scholars like Su Tungp'o (1035-1101), Mi Fei (1050-1107) and Ms son Mi Ytijen (1086-1165)9 It reached still greater simplicity and subjectivity. It was also known as "literary men's painting." Su Tungp'o even painted a bamboo tree without Its joints, and when someone protested, he replied by asking, "Did the bamboo grow by adding one joint to another?35 Su, who was a great writer and poet, specialized in painting bamboos, and he was so fond of them that he once said, "I would rather go without meat in my meals than go without bamboos in my house.** His bamboo was, like Ms "drunken style** of "running script," a splash of Ink without colours; and Ms manner of painting was to get drunk and? after dinner, under the stimulation of alcohol when his spirit was heightened, dip his brush In the ink and write characters, or bamboos, or poetry as the inspiration came—It did not matter wMch. Once, in such a ;,tate, he scribbled a poem on Ms host's wall, which Is hardly translatable: "Sprouts come from my dry intestines, moistened by wine, and from my lungs and liver grow bamboos and rocks. So full of life they grow that they cannot be restrained, and so I am writing them on your snow-white wall." For now painting was no longer "painted," but "written" like characters. Wu Taotzu, too, often did Ms paintings under the inspiration of wine or of his friend's sword-dance, whose rhythm he incorporated into his work. It is evident that work done under such momentary stimulation could have been accomplished only in a few strokes or a few